Within ten minutes I was called inside by the assistant doctor. I was clueless about what could have happened. He said they cannot continue with the operation and asked me to wait in his cabin to answer my questions. Just then the operation theatre opened and I saw them taking baba on a stretcher to another room. I couldn’t control my tears looking at how he was lying on the stretcher unconscious. The doctor calmed me down saying it was just the effect of anaesthesia and he will be fine soon.

There were endless questions in my mind while I was waiting in the doctor’s cabin with maa and my husband. The doctor explained to us with a few reports in his hand that it would be critical to carry on the operation. There are chances that he might even lose his voice forever in the process.

We were all dumbfounded and looked at him with dismay. He continued by saying that another possible option is treating through radiation and chemotherapy. That would not be as easy and quick as an operation and might take a long time to heal completely. It would also take a toll on his health and we as a family will have to keep a lot of patience.

Because there was a long waiting at the Tata Memorial Hospital, we were getting an appointment after three months to start his chemotherapy. It was not possible so we were given an option to continue with the treatment in a place of our convenience. They gave us a referral letter and also the complete mode of treatment and asked us to come for a check-up after the entire process is over. Looking at our panicked faces he assured us that the process will cure him completely.

We returned home dead tired, both physically and mentally. Maa started crying inconsolably and this time even my baba was silent. We didn’t discuss much and went to sleep early. I was holding back my tears for a long time, but not anymore. I was feeling helpless and started crying thinking why was all this happening to baba. To my parents, I was a strong girl and so I could cry and share all my inhibitions only with my husband.

We now had to decide where we can begin the radiation therapy and we didn’t have much time to ponder over it. We went to a few hospitals in Pune to check their facilities and my sister and brother-in-law made a similar search in Ahmedabad. Finally, we all decided to continue with HCG Hospital in Ahmedabad.

Baba was happy with the decision because by now he was tired of travelling to Mumbai almost every week. Maa on the other hand, who is herself from the medical field, cried saying he is happy and relaxed because he has no idea what he will be going through. We all prayed that the treatment doesn’t be too harsh on him.

Truly speaking, even we had no idea what is in store for us. We simply followed the doctor’s instructions and the treatment was started. It was indeed a nightmare. We could see his health deteriorate, loss of appetite, the skin around his throat looked burnt and he lost interest in everything. We had to follow a strict diet which he hated to the core. Emotionally he was giving up, he was missing his normal life, normal food and also his hometown.

The entire thing affected maa’s health too but she continued to be strong. Only she was able to convince him to eat, take medicines and also speak to all. My sister and brother-in-law managed everything brilliantly. They ensured baba didn’t face any difficulties. My little nephew suddenly grew up and we found him sharing responsibilities as well. He would spend more time with his grandfather and also remind him to take medicines.

We all prayed for his speedy recovery. We wanted this phase to end soon and baba to be fit and fine like before. For the entire year, there were no celebrations, nobody was happy and there was an awkward silence in our lives. We continued to live with the fear of whether the treatment would cure him completely or not. What if not?

It’s not easy to always think positive. Especially when the strongest person you know is in so much pain. You feel helpless, you don’t get sound sleep and your life takes a halt. I would wake up in the middle of the night with weird thoughts.

Thankfully, we reached the end of his scheduled treatment. The doctors were happy about how his body responded and they discharged him keeping our hopes alive. He was referred to Mumbai again for the final tests and confirmation.

As required, we went to Tata Memorial Hospital again and carried on with all the tests. It was a day-long affair and we were given another appointment to collect the reports and meet the doctor. Maa was hesitant with the date because it was my birthday but I didn’t want to wait any further.

A week later, on my birthday, we travelled to Mumbai with all hopes. We were guided directly to the doctor’s cabin as the reports were already sent to him. We waited impatiently for our turn. When the doctor called us in, I almost ran to hear what he had to say. He first examined him physically and then went through the reports and said, “Congratulations! He is completely out of danger.”

We exclaimed with joy, that was exactly what we wanted to hear. He also added that we will have to continue his routine check-up and a few medications maybe for a year. I thanked him again for deciding not to go ahead with the operation, otherwise today he might have lost his voice forever. He wished us all the best and we thanked him wholeheartedly. We came out of the cabin with all smiles.

After completing a few more formalities we went to the cafeteria for a tea break. I ordered tea and snacks for us but I was surprised when a chocolate pastry was also served! Maa said, “It’s your birthday after all,” and they started singing the birthday song for me! I cried like never before, hugged them and said, “No birthday can get better than this ever.”

We returned to Pune that night, physically tired but mentally relaxed. It was like a storm that ended, that shook us all and now it was time to pick up the bits and pieces. We knew we had a long way to go and all our support was with baba, to help him get back his strength and smile again.

Hats off to all the cancer survivors and their families.




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Q – Qualities I Adore





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4 thoughts on “P – Pune-Mumbai-Pune”

  1. What a birthday that must have been. How well you have put in words the struggles that you and everyone around you went through.

  2. A close relative went through this. Health deteriorated, his interest in life – exactly the same. It was painful for him and for us to bear. I think you got the best news on your birthday though…

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